Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel, running for his second term, introduced himself at the October meeting of the Josephine County Democrats and said he was glad to see a strong, growing Democratic Party in the county because it is important that all voices here be heard. He introduced his wife, an elementary school teacher who brought in campaign signs, and said she was an important part of his mission and his team. He said he doesn’t normally campaign in uniform, but he’d just come over from his office.
Daniel grew up in Portland, graduated from OSU with a BS in Speech Communications and began his law enforcement career with the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety in 1995. Three years later he was hired by the Oregon State Police as resident Trooper in Wheeler and Gilliam counties. Daniel, his wife and two children decided to go back to Grants Pass three years later and Daniel was again hired by the GPDPS where he held many positions, from traffic officer to SWAT Team instructor. In 2014 he ran for sheriff, he said, because the sheriff’s department was barely hanging on and he had ideas to improve it. Since taking office, Daniel said the department has been steadily improving, with a big boost in May from the jail levy that passed. He said he isn’t a fan of taxes but the levy has helped him make desperately needed improvements to the department. The ability to utilize all the beds in the jail to actually lock up criminals instead of handing them a citation is starting to bring order back into communities, he said. Daniel’s handouts show bookings went from 2,679 in 2012-13 to 5,209 in 2017-18 and he expects to see that grow as more officers are put in place. In addition, he was able to restore a position in his records department, so if you call, you get a real person instead of an answering machine.
From the floor, Daniel was praised by people on evacuation notice during the fires as being honest and helpful about possible evacuations. He said he has worked hard to bring back trust and transparency to the department. On homelessness, Daniel explained there are two types of homeless, those who want to be there and those who don’t. It is hard to do anything about those who are just wanderers, he said, but homeless people who are there because of drugs, alcohol, mental health issues, and those who might be camping out because they are priced out of housing, should be helped. Daniel said he has worked with Gov. Kate Brown to secure a $1.5 million grant to combat the drug problem in Josephine County. Regarding collaboration with local schools, Daniel said he recently funded on-site officers for three schools, who will not only provide security but help students view law enforcement as a resource.
“We’ve lost a generation because we had no law enforcement and we’re seeing the ramifications of that,” Daniel said. “We’ve got to start over now.”
When the levy passed, Daniel ended the contract with ICE to provide beds for illegals. He said those housed in the jail were, no doubt arrested for criminal activity, but they were not local and taking up needed space.
“We have a low population of illegals, and we don’t need to be housing them for other places,” he said.
When asked if he was concerned about growing right-wing groups, such as the Oath Keepers/Liberty Watch, known to take law into their own hands occasionally, Daniel said his job is Conservator of the Peace so he works with everyone to make sure “once the pot starts to boil it doesn’t overflow.